The Free Church’s Home Missions Board recently held a five-day bootcamp to help mentor and nurture potential future leaders in the denomination.
Fourteen young people from different congregations across Scotland attended the June camp, which was held at Comrie Croft in Perthshire.
It is hoped to run over a three-year programme, and this year the main talks were given by Rev David Meredith, Rev David Robertson as well as sessions from Andrew Robertson, Tom Muir and Sarah Macleod.
Rev Neil MacMillan, who helped to bring the bootcamp together, said: “As a denomination we are keen to develop potential future leaders.
“In order to achieve this, the Home Missions Board have begun a programme of leadership bootcamps where young people will be given the opportunity to develop as leaders.
“Bootcamp aims to equip men and women of the Free Church with the knowledge and skills to lead well as Christians.
“We hope it will help them develop into effective leaders in the church, and also for them to provide an outstanding Christian influence in whatever calling they follow in life.”
The programme included intensive teaching, physical activities and challenges (including a 6:15am run every morning) and interactive discussion sessions on theology, leadership and service.
This year the focus was an intense introduction to the Theology of the Gospel.
Neil added: “We were privileged to have Rev David Meredith and Rev David Robertson with us this year who taught difficult doctrine in a relatable and understanding way.
“David Meredith taught sessions on the Gospel in Biblical Theology, where he addressed the points of Calvinism, and a session on the Gospel and Justification.
“David Robertson took sessions on the Gospel and Sanctification and the Gospel and culture. The talks were stimulating, challenging and relevant.
“The campers had some fantastic questions and enjoyed good discussion groups, which helped them understand how to apply these biblical doctrines in their day-to-day lives.
“Rev. Derek Lamont, Chairman of the HMB, joined us one evening to speak about the vision of the Free Church.
“During our evening sessions we did campers bios where we heard from each camper and had a time of prayer from them.”
Carina MacIver, youth worker at Dowanvale and Paisley, said: “I think we all came into Bootcamp quite unsure of exactly what we were getting ourselves into but we came away thoroughly blessed by the encouragement and theological learning.
“Bootcamp managed to combine, with great success, 6am runs and the five points of Calvinism making for a wonderful time of physical and spiritual training.”
Andrew ‘Mowgli’ Macleod, one of young leaders from Back Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, said: “Boot camp was a week shared with new and old friends where we shared a great time of fellowship.
“The talks were personally stimulating rather than being merely academic and the ultimate benefit for myself was that I received clarity on the direction The Lord is leading me.”
Fellow islander Steven Campbell from Point Free Church added: “So thankful to the church for arranging this week.
“Theology is no longer something I would shy away from, and I have finally had to admit to my dad that ‘Calvinism is cool’, as he always said it was!
“Can’t wait for second year.”
More details about the bootcamp programme will be announced in due course.